Window Fashion VISION January + February 2020

Page 1



Examining the Link Between Eco-Friendly and Healthy Design

RENEW YOURSELF AND YOUR BUSINESS IN 2020 Find New Sources of Income Invest in Yourself with Self-Care Stay on Top of Industry Trends


The tranquility and privacy of the spa…at home. Bring home the luxury of total light blockage with Phifer’s SheerWeave Style 7000.

contents : volume 41, issue 1

in this issue INSIGHT 16

Content Marketing Refresh: Dusting Off Old Content for New Performance in 2020 Rather than throwing out your old content in 2020, reshape it for a new year.

by Welton Hong


3 Business-Changing Strategies for the New Year

Don’t make the same unappealing and unrealistic resolutions. Instead, take a new approach for 2020.

by Kathy Wall


Should I Stay or Should I Grow? Should you grow your business by hiring employees? Or should you keep it small and keep it all?

by Roger Magalhaes


How to Build a Lasting, Vibrant and Profitable Business: Part 2 Consistent marketing and being open to new technology will help your business stay strong.

by LuAnn Nigara


Self-Care Strategies for Window Fashion Professionals Dr. Robyn Gobin shares why self-care is having a moment and how setting aside five minutes a day can make a difference.

by Sophia Bennett



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contents : volume 41, issue 1

in this issue IWCE PREVIEW 28


Meet the eight influencers shaping our industry online and beyond.

A look at green options for shades, screens and more.

Leading the Way

by Sophia Bennett

36 Hot Products at IWCE 2020

Get a glimpse at over a dozen new products being showcased at this year’s show in Charlotte.

The Sustainable Window


by Deborah Moss


Design Harmony: Design’s Influence on Health and Wellness Designing beautiful spaces is now proven to improve people’s health. Learn how your business can capitalize on this important new finding.

by Mike Peterson


5 Things You Need to Know About eDesign eDesign is one of the hottest trends in the industry right now. Is it right for you?

by JoAnne Lenart-Weary


Unlocking Creative Streams of Income Open yourself up to new business possibilities that will make extra money, advertise your design business and provide an outlet for fun.


Economical, Evolutionary, Energy-Saving Shades Learn about the latest and greatest in a product that’s always popular: the versatile window shade.

by Gail Gutsche

by Marya Flurnoy



contents : volume 41, issue 1

I N S P I R AT I O N 66

Queen of Green

Leigh Anderson’s interest in green design is linked to her desire to create a healthy environment for her clients, staff and people everywhere.

by Sophia Bennett


Trends from Up on High

How do the trends spotted at High Point Market’s fall event translate to window coverings?

by Sophia Bennett


Grace Note

A word from our publisher


Letter from the Editor

The link between sustainability and health



Product showcase


What’s Next

We pull back the curtain on our next issue.



WINDOW FASHION VISION MAGAZINE President + CEO | Grace McNamara Editor-in-Chief | Sophia Bennett Creative Director | Nichole Day


Industry Liaison Editor | Gail Gutsche

Examining the Lin k and Healthy Desig Between Eco-Friendly n



Controller | Heather Bradley


Circulation + Marketing Director/WFCP Director | Anne Bild


Copy Editor | Maude Campbell


Find New Sources Invest in Yourself of Income with Self-Care Stay on Top of Indu stry Trends

Competition Coordinator


Vice President, Sales + Marketing | Susanne Young Digital Marketing Manager | Ania McNamara


Sophia Bennett, Marya Flurnoy, Gail Gutsche, Welton Hong, JoAnne Lenart-Weary, Roger Magalhaes, Deborah Moss, LuAnn Nigara, Mike Peterson, Kathy Wall

JANUARY + FEBRUARY 2020 VOLUME 41, ISSUE 1 ON THE COVER: A child’s bedroom featuring roman shades

from Leigh Anderson, owner of Willow Drapery & Upholstery. Photo by Barry Rustin of Barry Rustin Photography.


Leigh Anderson, Mary Ann Benoit, Missy Borgen, Michelle Castagna, Jenna Gaidusek, Tina Guevara, Shannon Levy, Eliane Munza, Shelby Novak, Rayana Schmitz


877-344-7406 •

Window Fashion Vision magazine makes every attempt to credit each person involved in the process of creating a window covering and will not be responsible for crediting any person whose name, company or participation did not surface during the information-gathering process. Crediting disputes between parties other than Vision magazine are solved at the discretion of those involved. Window Fashion Vision (ISSN 08869669) (USPS 708930) published bi-monthly by AIM Communications LLC, 4756 Banning Ave, Suite #206, White Bear Lake, MN 55110-3206.; Tel 651/330-0574; Fax 651/756-8141. Visit our website at Periodicals postage paid at St Paul, MN and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to Window Fashion Vision, PO Box 15698, North Hollywood, CA 91615-5698. Allow 60 days for address change. Subscription rates: $22/yr. U.S. and possessions; $29/yr. Canada; $90/yr. Foreign (includes airmail postage). Single copies/back issues $6 each, except for special issues, which are individually priced. (Payment must accompany order.) Copyright © 2020 by AIM Communications, LLC. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission prohibited. Canadian Publications Agreement Number: #40036514. Canadian Return Address: Station A, PO Box 54, Windsor, ONT N9A 6J5. January + February 2020, Volume 41, Issue 1.

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welcome : grace note


new decade calls for a fresh new look and design! I hope you enjoy the new

VISION—we wanted to update the logo and layout to make the information you want to read more concise and appealing. Let us know how we did!

As we kick off 2020, I want to reflect on what we do as professionals, which is so much more important than covering a window or decorating a home. We are creating an environment for our clients and their loved


ones to be calm, refresh from the challenges of the outside world and rest—in essence, we’re creating design harmony. More than decorating homes, we’re creating nurturing environments that are

not just visually appealing but psychologically beneficial. Together with IFDA, we’re championing this cause with a special presentation by Mike Peterson at the International Window Coverings Expo (IWCE) this March in Charlotte, NC. Please read Mike’s inspiring article on page 44. Here’s just an idea of what he’s talking about: “How can you take better advantage of the groundswell of the Design Harmony movement? It starts by making sure that your design creates those ‘aha’ moments for your

client—those moments that will provide them with a shot of serotonin.” First, we have to realize the advantage we have when we create blissful environments for our clients but next, and most importantly, how do we promote this important aspect of our business? This is just one of the many things you will learn and add to your repertoire at IWCE in Charlotte. The seminars we are offering are personal and life- and business-changing. We have vetted the best educators for every topic and I hope you will take advantage of this annual learning conference and expo. This will be the best business investment you make this year. This issue also brings to mind sustainability and trends for 2020—a new decade of opportunity. Happy New Year! Wishing you all much success, health and prosperity in 2020!

Grace McNamera Publisher

Ending the decade in Paris!

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welcome : letter from the editor


everal years ago, I stopped making well-meaning but unrealistic New Year’s resolutions and started setting broad goals I thought I could actually accomplish. In 2013, the year my twins were born, my resolution was to sleep more in 2014 (I’m not sure it would have been humanly possible to sleep less). In 2016, after working furiously for three years to build my freelance writing business, my goal for 2017 was to be more strategic about my business, including finding ways to do less work but for higher-paying clients. For 2020, my resolution is to do even more to incorporate eco-friendly practices into my life. I’m pretty good about keeping my carbon footprint low, but I know there’s always more I can do. The bonus is that things like biking more, eating less meat and more vegetables, and swapping out all of my chemical cleaners for plant-based versions will not only make me greener, they’re also likely to be pretty good for my health.


Health and environmental sustainability are inexorably linked, which is why we’ve made that the focus of our annual sustainability issue. We have several articles that look at the connection between the two. International Window Coverings Expo (IWCE) Lunch & Learn speaker Mike Peterson describes the science behind design harmony and biophilia, which examines the links between creating beautiful spaces and good health, on page 44. Deborah Moss, another IWCE speaker, looks at the green window covering products you need to know about on page 32. Leigh Anderson, a familiar name for any of you who follow VISION Design and Workroom Competition Awards, describes the toxins she tries to avoid in her workroom and some of the healthier products she uses in their place (see page 66).

One of the most inspirational women in my life is my stepsister, County Commissioner The other theme for this Heather Buch, who met her goal of being issue is “renewal.” If you’re elected to public office in 2018. I hope you meet the goals you set for yourself in 2020. starting to think

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I fell in love with this secretary from EJ Victor at the fall High Point Market. See it and a number of other pieces in my article on home and window treatment trends for 2020 on page 72.

about your New Year’s resolutions, I hope you’ll read Kathy Wall’s piece about goal-setting for 2020 (page 24), as well as my interview with Dr. Robyn Gobin on self-care for small business owners (page 26). I’ve learned the hard way that taking care of yourself really matters if you’re going to run a sustainable business. Speaking of which, if your goal for 2020 is to make changes in your business, we have all kinds of helpful resources. There’s part two of LuAnn Nigara’s look at how to run a successful business year after year (page 20), new contributor Marya Flurnoy’s tips for finding new sources of income (page 56) and JoAnne Lenart-Weary’s deep dive into the exciting world of eDesign (page 50). Finally, it’s a real pleasure to introduce you to our top window fashion influencers for 2020 in this issue. You can meet several of these folks at IWCE, where they’ll be helping us educate others about the value of window treatments and spotting cool new products you’ll want to learn about. You can follow their IWCE experience on social media if you’re not planning to come this year, but I suspect that may lead to some “fear of missing out,” and you may wish you started your year by giving yourself the gift of this career-strengthening event. Beat FOMO by signing up today. Best wishes for a great start to the year!

Sophia Bennett Editor-in-Chief



insight : welton hong

Content Marketing Refresh: Dusting Off Old Content for New Performance in 2020

Don’t throw out content with the new year. Reshape it so it continues to serve you well going forward BY WELTON HONG


n the new year, it’s tempting to adopt an approach that pushes out the old to make way for the new. While the first months of the year can be an ideal time to get ahead of spring-cleaning duties—from refreshing offices to clearing out and reorganizing filing cabinets—don’t make the mistake of tossing out things that are still valuable. That can include your past content marketing efforts. A quick sprucing up of content that performed well in the past can generate new leads this year without a lot of effort. And even content that fell flat before might be rescued and reused. It’s a tactic used by almost all the best digital marketers, and it’s something you can do in 2020 to reduce content marketing efforts while potentially improving search engine rankings, on-page traffic and conversions.

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Some businesses avoid this tactic because they’re worried about Google’s duplicate content penalties. But repurposed content isn’t duplicate content. The goal isn’t to find old content and copy and paste it into a new post. Instead, you’re reworking the content with updates or presenting it in a new manner. According to digital marketing expert Neil Patel, something like 30 percent of the web is repetitive content. That’s because brands take an idea or topic and create multiple pieces of content around it—including blog posts, white papers, social posts, slideshows, videos and infographics. And Google doesn’t care. In fact, this type of content clustering can actually be good for SEO if the content itself is high-quality. You can put a new spin on existing content in dozens of ways. Here are five common methods for repurposing old content for new traffic.

Rewrite Old Posts with New Information

Choose an old post and rewrite it by inserting current facts, stats or relevant information. Two basic methods exist for choosing which posts to rewrite. You can choose posts that performed well in the past. For example, if your “2019 Guide to Window Fashions” garnered tons of hits, then consider reworking it as a 2020 guide. Alternatively, choose posts that should have performed, but didn’t engage like you had hoped. If you published a post about roman shades in 2018 that never got the traction you thought it deserved, take a fresh look. Can you improve the quality and relevancy of the content for today’s audiences and try again? Whichever tactic you try, remember to conduct new keyword research and refresh the content with that information in mind. The keywords and searcher intent today don’t always match those of yesterday. There’s always a chance you got this part wrong to begin with and that’s why content didn’t perform.

Combine Last Year’s Blog Posts into an E-Book

Create long-form lead-generating content by combining some of your best blog posts from the past. You can offer the e-book as a free download in exchange for a reader sharing their email address or signing up for your newsletter. Don’t just copy and paste your entire blogroll into a giant PDF document and call it a day, though. Here are some tips for using old content in this manner: • •

• •

Choose a topic you’ve posted about numerous times in the past. Pull all the relevant content. Figure out how the content works together by separating it into subtopics (or chapters) and reordering it. You may have to take blog posts apart, using one section here and another there, to do this. Write new content that connects the old content in a logical, seamless manner. Update any content that isn’t evergreen. For example, if you have a 2017 blog about the season’s popular colors for curtains, update those facts with the most recent details.

Turn a Fact-Packed Post into an Infographic

Infographics are typically the most shared content online, so any time you can turn a post into one, you’re likely to get a boost in brand awareness and traffic. The following types of content make great infographics: • • •

Statistic-based content, such as the demographics of who buys which type of window covering. Simple step-by-step content, such as how to hang blinds or create a certain look with curtains. “Type-of” content, such as visual representations that show types of curtain rods, window designs or blind options.

Convert Posts, Articles or White Papers into Slideshows

One of the easiest ways to repurpose your content is to turn posts into a presentation on SlideShare. Some benefits of using SlideShare include increased traffic (you can include a link to your pages in your slides), increased Google ranking (the search engine crawls presentations on SlideShare) and increased exposure to potential customers. Also, it’s incredibly easy to reuse content this way. Simply boil a blog post or series of posts down to pertinent talking points and facts—a summary or outline of what really matters—and present it on slides with engaging graphics or images. If you’ve never heard of SlideShare, consider these facts about the site: It has more than 80 million users and gets over 155 million views a month. Eighty percent of SlideShare traffic comes from search, which creates a new opportunity for you to connect with organic traffic you’re not capturing with on-page SEO.

Create a Free Webinar with Old Content

Once you create presentations for SlideShare, go a step further. Existing slideshows make a great foundation for free webinars, which you can offer as a way to build interest about your services and products. Consider launching the webinar live with someone from your company presenting the information and answering questions. Record the webinar so you can offer it as gated content, providing a link to it when someone signs up for your newsletter. Topics for these webinars can include how to install specialty window décor, tips for increasing curb appeal with window fashions or anything else relevant to your products and customers. When it comes to content marketing in 2020, don’t spend too much time trying to reinvent the wheel. Look back at previous years and draw inspiration from existing content. Then do a little work to form it into something new that drives SEO and sales conversions in the new year. V

Welton Hong is the founder of Ring Ring Marketing and a leading expert in creating case generation from online to the phone line. He is the author of “Making Your Phone Ring with Internet Marketing for Window Covering Companies.” Facebook: RingRingMarketing



insight : roger magalhaes

Should I Stay or Should I Grow? Should you grow your business by hiring employees? Or should you keep it small and keep it all? BY ROGER MAGALHAES


ne topic that always comes up in my Facebook group, Free Speech Window Covering Pros, and other online forums is hiring. Should you grow your business by hiring employees? Or should you keep it small and keep it all? This is a very complex issue with no simple answer.

There is no right or wrong way to run your business, but I will share some of my own experiences as well as some insights from colleagues in the industry.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Adding Staff

When I first started in the industry in 2006 as an independent installer, I had a secret dream to conquer the world. In other words, I wanted to grow my business and expand to all 50 states. Very soon, I realized that it would be harder than anticipated. Every time you hire someone, you need to spend time and money to bring this person up to speed. You will need to create forms and develop

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a same-language system for your organization so everyone can respond similarly to the challenges and requests from clients. There is a steep learning curve before someone is ready to represent your company. The benefits may take time, but they will pay off in the long run, as you will be able to take vacations and time away and have the company still make money while you are gone. If you ever decide to sell the business, you will have something to sell. If you get sick or injured, the income will not stop with your absence. There is a machine making money for you. Creating a system will allow you to oversee the daily activities since you will not be working in the business. Instead, you will be working on the business, perfecting the operations.

Keeping It Small

I personally experienced instant growth when I opened my company. I tried to keep up with the demand for my services

by hiring an office administrator, a second installer and even a decorator. I had two working vans and more than 30 accounts that used us as subcontractors, but it was very stressful for me to train these people and manage the growth at the same time. Money was scarce and I did not even have enough business experience to make the right decisions. After five years, I decided to change my business model and regroup as a company. My focus changed. I did not want to be a “volume” company anymore. The new goal was to become a “quality” company instead. First, I went from $250,000 a year in revenue with a five-person team to almost $800,000 last year working with a part-time helper. One of my changes was prioritizing selling higher-ticket items such as plantation shutters and automated shades. I realized that I could use the same one-hour appointment to sell $10,000 instead of my average $2,500 sale jobs. I realized how important it was to have the right prospect in front of me and demonstrate the right product. Second, I got rid of the low-income accounts and maintained the higher-end income generators. Again, my goal was to increase my hourly rate while doing the same amount of work. And third, I came to the conclusion that I could not be an expert in every aspect of my business. Therefore, I focused on doing what I do best, which is selling and installing. For the rest of my business needs, such as marketing, bookkeeping, janitorial, payroll and web design, I hired other companies to provide me with the services they do best. I still work long hours and most weekends, but I also take time off and travel frequently. I see the financial benefits of my changes and am constantly looking for ways to bring my company another notch higher.

Ways to Grow

My colleagues who have chosen to grow by adding more installers and extra locations shared their stories as well, to inform those of you who are looking to expand the size of your business. Jeffrey Britt from Affordable Blinds and More in Wilmington, NC, started as an installer and now has 11 employees. He shares, “I had to trust that my business would grow if I took the financial risks needed to grow it. That meant taking risks that made me feel uncomfortable and scared at times. There were some days that I thought, ‘Why are you doing this, Jeff? Isn’t your business doing good without all of these improvements?’ There were weekends that I would lie on the couch watching inspirational videos to motivate myself to want to do more for my business to combat those thoughts.” Jeffrey is very successful today and says he is glad he made the decision to grow. Tim Sanders from Solar Shield Blinds Shades Solutions (a sixperson operation) started as an installer and now owns two full-

service locations in East Peoria, IL, and Kansas City, MO. He says, “Growing a successful business is not something that just happens. It takes planning, trial and error, passion and, most importantly, patience. Every decision made needs to be about the long game, not the short gains. Be patient, keep going and don’t give up!” Virginia Wood Nahill from Barrows Custom Window Treatments in Newton, MA (12 employees total), mentions that clients are her first priority. “Keep your customers happy and they will become your ambassadors for growth. Keep your employees trained and happy and they will implement the growth. Always maintain a level of professionalism and excellence that you would expect to receive as a consumer. Be prepared for working through the growing pains and change what isn’t working. Be ready and willing to face challenges each and every day. Enjoy the rewards your growth will bring.” Rachel Gregersen, owner of Beyond Shades in Oakbrook and Elmhurst, IL (four full-time, two part-time and six independent installers), shares that having a laser focus is crucial. “Have strong operational systems in place from day one. Even if it’s only you, ask yourself, ‘How would this function if there were 10, 20, 30 associates?’ This will make it easier to grow and add people when the time comes. Have clear, concise goals that you are working toward: long-term, mid-term and current. What does your company look like in five years? What is your 2020 goal? What is your team’s goal for this month?” As you can see, there is no one-size-fits-all approach and every business owner has a different background and unique needs and goals in life. The secret is to develop a key strategy that is financially rewarding and yet brings personal joy to motivate you to get out of bed every morning. Find yours and keep selling! V Roger Magalhaes is the owner of Shades IN Place, Inc., in the Boston area. He has received formal training and certifications from many of the country’s most respected vendors such as Somfy, Hunter Douglas, Norman Shutters and Lutron. He also attended the Custom Home Furnishings Academy for formal installation training focusing on drapery and other soft treatments. Roger is the founder of the Facebook group Free Speech Window Covering Pros and the Installation Instructor for the Window Fashion Certified Professional FastTrack program. Join Roger for the workshops “Installation 101” and “The Installer’s Toolbox” at the International Window Coverings Expo, March 25 to 27 in Charlotte. Facebook: ShadesInPlace Twitter: Shades_In_Place Houzz: Shades-In-Place



insight : luann nigara

How to Build a Lasting, Vibrant and Profitable Business: Part 2 Consistent marketing, an openness to exploring new technology and placing value on relationships will help your business stay strong BY LUANN NIGARA


n the previous issue of Window Fashion VISION, I discussed my theory on why Window Works has not only maintained a healthy, profitable business for 38 years but has continued to grow year after year. Of course, a company can grow by expanding to multiple showrooms, but we have grown significantly while remaining a single showroom and having added relatively few team members. So, what’s the secret sauce? In that first column, I explained how I attribute much of our success to these four factors: •

A well-established company brand and core values

Consistent marketing, year after year

An openness to new technology

Placing value on creating and building relationships

In that issue, I discussed the first one. This time, I’ll address the remaining three factors.

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Why Consistent Marketing Matters

Window Works has always thoughtfully and purposefully spent money and energy marketing our business. When we started, my husband, Vin, personally did not take a salary for the first 18 months. Instead, this money was invested in marketing. The Small Business Administration suggests a B2C business with gross revenues of up to $5 million invest 5 to 8 percent of their gross revenue in marketing. For our first 30 years at Window Works, we invested 10 to 12 percent of our gross revenue each year in marketing. In slow times and in busy times, we have not wavered in our decision to consistently invest in marketing. Just like you put gas in your car every week, every week you put your name on the street. In almost four years and nearly 500 interviews of interior design and window treatment professionals for my podcast, “A WellDesigned Business,” I have been surprised and saddened to

learn how many business owners do not have a formal process for planning, analyzing and implementing their marketing. The approach is often, “I’m so busy, I can’t even think about marketing” or “Uh-oh, I have no new business coming in, I better do something.”

The Marketing Rule of 7 explains that potential customers need to come across an offer at least seven times before they pay attention to it and begin to take action. Knowing the Rule of 7, we make sure Window Works is visible all year long, every year. Because we have no idea when Mrs. Smith will actually need window treatments, we have to be crossing her path for months, even years, before she finally has a need for our products and services. Then she’ll see our ad one more time and think, “Yes, I’ll call Window Works, I know them.”

This is the goal of marketing: to be so prevalent, so visible, that customers feel like they just know you are there.

emails, and we have thorough SEO strategies that we implement through our blog and website. I cannot say I honestly understand every aspect of the technologies we use, but we invest in experts where necessary. Technology should not be avoided because

we don’t fully understand every aspect of it; embracing technology is essential to being relevant and relatable to our target client.

You can probably think of a business in your community that hasn’t changed with the times. And while it might be quaint and the business owner could be beloved, how much of the new business available is that business capturing? It’s likely that business enjoys loyalty from longtime clients but loses out as new people enter the marketplace and decide who to do business with. I know as an “old dog” in our community, we do have repeat clients. But since we commit to staying relevant and changing with the times, we also attract new customers who will be longtime clients one day. Tech initiatives to consider implementing include social media (along with Pinterest boards), blogging, proficiency in motorization and smart-home tech, utilizing email nurture sequences, operating your business on a customized CRM platform, automated appointment confirmations, and providing quotes and invoices by email.

Our clients are using technology to make their yoga appointments, order takeout from restaurants and access their medical results. Everything is done through tech. Make it easy for them to work with you the way they want to.

Marketing starts with a robust website that speaks to your ideal client and expresses the very best of who you are, what you do and how you do it. Then decide on your budget and develop your marketing plan for the year. Strategies to consider include print publications, email campaigns, direct mail, community events, social media, SEO and pay-per-click campaigns, signage on your vehicles and cold-calling. The final steps in this area are to 1) analyze the results of each of your marketing initiatives based on the data each year and 2) commit to reinvesting every year.

An Openness to New Technology

When we started Window Works, we were cutting edge because we had an answering machine. No joke. There was no fax, no internet, no email, no cellphones. Fast-forward to today and we are a business that is managed online. We have a full-time person strictly to handle our social media presence. We have lead magnets on our website to capture

Create Clients, Not Customers

In my mind, a customer is someone who buys from you once and a client is someone who returns to you again and again. While this is not a strict definition, it benefits us to think in these terms. We consider it a priority to create long-term, repeat clients. When someone new enters our world, because we are clear that our goal is to create a lifelong client rather than a one-off customer,



insight : luann nigara we do things differently than most of our competition. Because we

want and expect to see them many times over the years, we take the time to get to know them in a meaningful way. As a result, we create a client experience that shows how much we value their choice to work with us.

Tips for creating clients rather than customers include: •

Learn about their family members, pets, jobs, and favorite stores and restaurants.

Keep detailed notes in their file so you can recall the things that are important to them.

Call to confirm appointments and arrive for those appointments on time.

Appreciate and compliment something about their home with genuine admiration, whether it is a wreath on the front door or a beautiful piece of art or furniture.

Be timely in all communication throughout the order process.

Show respect in their home. Remove your shoes and park on the street rather than in the driveway.

Address any problems with courtesy and with a solution.

Send handwritten thank-you notes.

Remember important dates and milestones in their life.

Consider how you feel when a business takes this approach with you. It is memorable, isn’t it? This practice absolutely creates loyalty to our company. We all know repeat and referral leads are the least expensive to earn and these sales earn the highest gross margins. These factors are always critical to the financial health of our business, but they are especially valuable during economic downturns. We know from experience that loyal clients are essential in weathering recessions successfully. The best part? This is simple, good human business that creates a win-win for everyone involved. V LuAnn Nigara is an award-winning window treatment specialist and co-owner of Window Works in Livingston, NJ. Her highly successful podcast “A Well-Designed Business” debuted in February 2016. She has since recorded more than 400 episodes. Join LuAnn for the workshops “Closing the Sale: It Begins at Hello,” “Best Practices for Succeeding with Window Coverings in 2020,” “Profitability – Know Your Numbers” and “Develop Partnerships with Designers to Create a Systemized Dream Team” at the International Window Coverings Expo, March 25 to 27 in Charlotte. Facebook: WindowWorksNJ Twitter: WindowWorks_NJ Instagram: WindowWorks

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insight : kathy wall

3 Business-Changing Strategies for the New Year Don’t make the same unappealing and unrealistic resolutions. Instead, take a new approach for 2020 BY KATHY WALL


ew year, new you? Each year as January 1 approaches, we’re barraged by headlines encouraging us to be better. Slim that stomach! Thin those thighs! Cut those calories! Stop that spending!

Start with Self-Care

We often put our needs behind the needs of others. It seems like the right thing to do. But here’s the truth: If we don’t feel our best, we can’t do our best for ourselves, our business or anyone else. It’s important to carve out time on the calendar for ourselves.

But sometimes less really isn’t more—especially if we’re trying to better ourselves and our businesses. As we set our outlook for 2020, let’s start with reframing our New Year’s resolutions. The old ways definitely aren’t working. Research shows that only one in 10 people (out of the half of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions) stick to them. That’s because most people set unrealistic and, quite frankly, unappealing goals.

Step one: Get enough sleep. Research shows that proper shuteye—six hours a night at the very least—makes it easier to beat unhealthy cravings and eat more healthful foods. That, in turn, provides the energy we need to fuel our endeavors, whether they involve family, work or that exercise plan we’ve been eyeing. Consider other forms of downtime, too. Make this the year you give meditation or yoga a try—or finally take that long-awaited vacation.

So, let’s get positive! Here’s a look at three effective life- and business-changing strategies for the new year.

Self-care might sound like an indulgence, but it’s vital for a healthy business. Fifty-seven percent of small business owners report

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chronic stress, which researchers say hurts cognitive function and the ability to make critical decisions.

Be True to Yourself

There’s a reason why 60 percent of the people who start gym memberships in January are nowhere to be seen come the first day of spring. Those lapsed members have good intentions, but they just really don’t like going to the gym. Instead of following the herd, think about what you really want. Is the exercise class or the losing 20 pounds what’s important? Or do you really want more energy to play with your kids or take on business projects? Pursue a physical activity you actually enjoy and reap the mental and physical benefits.

Registration now open!

Likewise, be true to your business. The new year is a great time to reassess your business plan and focus on what’s important. Set priorities, avoid distractions and give yourself permission to say no to things that aren’t helping you achieve your goals.

Build a Road Map

Vague resolutions are failed resolutions. Don’t just say you’re going to lose weight or make your business better, establish specific, measurable goals and a realistic step-by-step path to achieve them. For example, as a business owner, is your goal really to spend less money? Or is it to get more business? Sometimes, the kneejerk reaction is to reduce budgets or eliminate line items when things get tough. But committing to your business through marketing consistently—PR outreach, advertising and social media—is budget-smart in the long term. If you stop marketing, you have to start again from square one. It’s a vicious cycle. There’s a direct correlation between sales and marketing efforts and maintaining or increasing revenue. Instead, commit to the long game. Be consistent with your message and make your brand stand out.

Don’t miss the largest industry trade show in the Country!

Remember why you chose this business. Reconnect with your passions and you’ll reconnect with your core goals. Engage with your business partners, customers and social media followers to champion your brand. The new year can put a new focus on your business and the best strategies for its success. V Kathy Wall is president and ringleader of The Media Matters, an agency in the Triad area of North Carolina offering marketing, advertising and brand strategy to a roster of international clients. Kathy has shared her talents with the home furnishings industry for over three decades and formed her own business 18 years ago. Her motto? “We don’t work with jerks.” Facebook: TheMediaMatters Twitter: TheMediaMatters Instagram: Tmm.Agency

March 25-27 2020 V ISION |


insight : self-care for designers

Self-Care Strategies for Window Fashion Professionals Self-care is a big buzzword right now. To go beyond the hype and understand what it is and how it can help interior designers, Window Fashion VISION talked to Dr. Robyn Gobin, author of the book “The SelfCare Prescription.” BY SOPHIA BENNETT


indow Fashion VISION: What is selfcare exactly?

Dr. Robyn Gobin: My definition of selfcare is this idea of doing things that feed you and help you operate at your best physically, mentally and emotionally. It’s doing things that help you to be healthy, happy and effective in your life—to do what’s going to help you function at the top of your game. A big piece of selfcare is not always doing what you want to do, but what you need. That’s really a huge piece of incorporating self-care into your life, is pausing to ask, “What do I need in this moment and how can I give that to myself?”

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We’re hearing a lot about self-care right now. Why do you think that is, and why does it seem so important to people? I think it’s really important in our society now because we have this cultural phenomenon going on where everyone is just constantly on the go. We’re constantly reinforced for performing at a high level, being extraordinarily productive and overachieving. While it’s great to be productive, and it makes us feel good about ourselves when others recognize our accomplishments, one of the downsides is we’re often exhausted. To some extent, we’re getting high off the external validation and that can leave us feeling empty inside if we become too dependent on it. If we are not careful, we can start to

equate our worth and value as a person with how much we are able to achieve or produce on the job. I think we are hearing a lot about self-care right now because the “constantly on the go” way of living is having an impact on our quality of life and we’re thinking, “There has to be a better way.” We’re looking to self-care to help us find a bit more balance in our lives. When you’re caught up in the hustle and bustle of achieving greatness (and living out other people’s definitions of success), you can become disconnected from what really matters to you. We spend our time and money doing things that don’t have that deep sense of meaning to us in the name of being viewed as successful. That’s why I think self-care is important, because it places you back in touch with what is important to you and what you need. It allows you to use that inner wisdom to guide how you spend your money and time.

Window covering professionals place a lot of strain on their bodies, whether they’re hauling sample books between appointments, hunching over a sewing machine or doing another activity. What are some things they can do to take better care of themselves physically? Something that I talk a lot about in the book is sleep. Just like our cellphones, our bodies work better when they’ve had time to recharge. If people don’t have a bedtime routine, they should start one. A bedtime routine includes simple actions you take that alert your body that you’re winding down for the day and getting ready to go to sleep. That can mean turning off the TV at a reasonable hour, brushing your teeth and having a warm cup of tea—anything you need to do to wind down. Also, make a concerted effort to get eight hours of sleep. As adults, we can survive on less, but that’s the recommendation for us. It will help you come back to work feeling refreshed, more creative and excited.

Many of our readers are small business owners who face a tremendous amount of stress. What are some easy ways to incorporate self-care for the mind? One thing that I would say about managing stress is prioritizing. I think, particularly among women, we try to be all things to all people, and we want to do all the things because they excite us, and we underestimate the amount of time we have. One of

the things to do to reduce stress is to recognize your human limitations and prioritize what is going to get your time in a given day. Sometimes things seem urgent to us but they aren’t really. Like, having a full email inbox may seem urgent in the moment, but in the grand scheme of things, it isn’t as urgent as finishing this project you’re getting paid for. Overall, in your larger life, it’s deciding, what are my priorities right now? Not everything can get your attention at every stage in your life, so what are you wisely choosing to focus on in your life right now? What is my top priority and how am I going to take things off my plate and fully invest in the things that are most important to me and my business at this point in my life? More of a practical skill is meditation. Meditation involves taking time to get still, focus on one thing at a time, be in the present moment (as opposed to worrying about the future or ruminating on the past), and just breathe. That is something I’ve found to be tremendously important in my life, to tap into the breath as a system that alerts our brain and our body to calm down. If you’re feeling stressed during the day, even pausing to take some deep breaths may help you calm down and find some clarity. (Find out which meditation apps Gobin recommends in the online version of this article at

How can people with busy lives find time for self-care? It goes back to asking yourself, “What is it that I really need? What is the most loving thing I can give myself in this moment?” If you choose wisely it can have a payoff for you, even if it’s just five minutes. One of the things with self-care is you have to have realistic expectations. Let’s say you want to try meditation as a self-care activity. If you meditate for five minutes a day, you might not see the payoff immediately. It’s like when you go to the gym and lift weights; you’re not going to see muscles after the first day. You need consistency, but it doesn’t have to be large chunks of time. It can be five minutes here and 10 minutes here, where you’re teaching your mind to be in the moment and not thinking about a mistake in the past or stress in the future. Being in the moment can create a lot of freedom in your mind— not to mention you can enjoy the pleasant things that are happening right now, like a bird chirping outside your window or a child’s laugher. There are a lot of things we miss throughout the day because we’re on autopilot—like a walking zombie just going through the motions. If we can slow down, we can get a lot more fulfillment and not feel like we need a vacation to find joy and happiness in our lives. V Note: This interview was edited for clarity and length.



iwce preview : top influencers

leading the way:

The Top 8 Window Fashion Influencers of 2020 BY SOPHIA BENNETT

“Influencer” is a buzzy term that refers to a person who inspires individuals with their cutting-edge recommendations, warm personality and deep knowledge of a particular industry. The design industry is rife with influencers, but we wanted to call out the handful of people who are inspiring window fashion professionals with their gorgeous designs, insightful business tips, ability to connect people and methods for elevating the industry in the eyes of consumers. After receiving more than 30 nominations, we are excited to have winnowed the list down to the eight people we believe are the top online Window Fashion Influencers right now. Get to know them here, and attend the International Window Coverings Expo (IWCE) to meet the people identified with the IWCE badge. Find an expanded version on this article online at

LuAnn Nigara Thanks to her popular podcast, “A Well-Designed Business,” her gregarious personality and her willingness to share information generously, LuAnn Nigara is one of the top influencers in the interior design industry. But LuAnn is also talking up window treatments wherever she goes, making sure they are top-of-mind for designers. Her wide reach and unwavering focus on promoting window coverings of all kinds leave no doubt LuAnn Nigara is a top Window Fashion Influencer. “Not only does LuAnn’s company operate with a high standard of excellence, but she also is willing to come alongside designers and vendors to

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help them learn how to run their businesses with intention and heart,” says Beth Clark, owner of B. Clark Interior Design in Portland, OR. “LuAnn truly understands the value of building a community that is supportive and encouraging, not only on an individual level but also as a way to strengthen the design industry as a whole. I’m fortunate to be one of many designers who have learned skills and tools from listening to her podcasts that have helped me build a successful business.” Instagram: LuannNigara

Claudia Clobes Yudis Claudia Clobes Yudis was working as an interior designer when she fell in love with window coverings. She rebranded her Philadelphia-area firm Urban Loft Window Treatments and has been focused on windows ever since. A lover of art history with an eye for beautiful design, Claudia is also a natural-born connector. She recently started Urban Loft Design Collective to enhance networking opportunities for design professionals. These in-person connections are vital to making online networking more powerful, she says. When you develop relationships with others who have a similar aesthetic and client base, they are more likely to see, comment on and share posts. That means better, more authentic engagement that will create more of an impact.

Jana Platina Phipps Trimming designer Jana Platina Phipps (aka Trim Queen) of New York is another interior design influencer who deserves recognition for promoting the window treatment industry. In addition to her regular contributions to Window Fashion VISION and IWCE, Jana is constantly promoting window fashion professionals in person and online. Like any good influencer, she inspires designers with new ideas, quality education, fun ways to use products and insight into what’s happening with design at the macro level.

“As a designer, I am always looking for inspiration, fresh ideas and new ways to elevate our window treatments on our projects,” says Glenna Stone with Glenna Stone Interior Design in Philadelphia. “I love following Claudia’s Instagram account to see the beautiful work she does, but to also gain ideas and inspiration on how window treatments can really bring a room together and punctuate a design. The industry is in good hands with her fresh look, innovation and timeless designs.” Twitter/Instagram: UrbanLoftWT

“Jana has brought the world of embellishment to the forefront of all of our designer minds,” says Denise Wenacur, principal at DW Design & Decor in Croton-on-Hudson, NY. “She encourages self-expression and individuality through the use of beautiful trim details. Each time I specify window treatments, upholstery and accessories such as custom pillows, I always ask myself how I can make these items even more special for my client using what Jana calls ‘trim alchemy’ embellishing techniques.” Twitter/Instagram: TrimQueen



iwce preview : top influencers

Rosemarie Garner Rosemarie Garner owns R Garner Custom Designs, a one-person “to the trade” custom drapery workroom in Butler, NJ, that was established in 2006. She is best known for her roman shades but regularly fabricates treatments of all kinds. She uses Facebook and Instagram to share in-process photos of window treatments, and finds that using social media regularly brings many benefits for her business. It draws new clients to her on a regular basis. Other workrooms will often reach out to her for advice, which allows her to be part of the “village” of small business owners who support each another.

Jill Rodgers Jill Rodgers, owner of High Country Drapery Design in Dalton, GA, provides custom soft furnishing and design consultation services throughout her region. She posts many of these designs to her social media channels, which have a growing following, or shares them through her e-newsletter. Jill is not afraid to use technology, making her an inspiration to those who are looking to add motorized treatments and other high-tech components to their projects. She also has a strong focus on teaching people about the design, construction and use of window treatments and soft coverings.

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Her social media posts have also helped establish her as an expert in her field, which has led to teaching gigs at conferences and technical colleges. “Rosemarie’s work is exceptional and she has set the gold standard for roman shades in our industry,” says Christina Price with Main Line Window Decor in West Chester, PA. “Her banding techniques are much loved and shared. She is generous with her knowledge and humble with her achievements. Rosemarie has inspired me to strive for a higher level of perfection and her openness to share has encouraged me to do the same.” Instagram: RGarnerCustomDesigns

“I love following her accounts and getting her newsletter because not only are her visuals beautiful, but her content is educational,” says Jana Platina Phipps. “Jill has inspired me to think about how trim innovation can play well with motorization. She is putting in the hard work in every part of her business— design, fabrication and media—to be an influencer in this industry. Jill embodies the phrase ‘community over competition’ and I think that is a quality worth celebrating and sharing.” Instagram: HighCountryDraperyDesigns

Roger Magalhaes Roger Magalhaes is an inspiration and mentor to window treatment installers everywhere. He shares his best practices regularly through his column in Window Fashion VISION and his classes for programs such as Window Fashion Certified Professional. In addition to his company’s social media accounts, Roger maintains a Facebook group called Free Speech Window Covering Pros, which allows installers to connect with their peers online.

Sharon Falcher & Sherica Maynard This mother-daughter team brings a powerpacked combination of skills to their Decorating Den franchise in Coyners, GA. Sharon has been a window fashion fabricator and designer since the 1980s. Her experience in the industry and natural talent for design means she is constantly crafting beautiful, cohesive designs that showcase the best of what window treatments can do for a room. Sherica is a whiz when it comes to sharing

“Roger posts to remind many of us of the maintenance we need on our bodies. I’ve adapted some of his practices to my own life, such as a regular fitness routine and chiropractor visits,” says Derreck Miller, owner of Finest Shade in Stroudsburg, PA. “I see him and his business as a great place to be. I look forward to providing the same services to my customers while operating in a lean workforce.” Facebook: Free Speech Window Covering Pros

the team’s designs on social media, including Instagram and YouTube. Their natural charisma lends star power to every attempt to share great ideas with their peers in the window coverings industry. Sharon and Sherica will be the featured designers in the March + April 2020 edition of Window Fashion VISION. Get their advice for successful social media management and insight into a variety of other topics in our upcoming issue. Instagram: InteriorDesignBySNS



iwce preview : the sustainable window

The Sustainable Window BY DEBORAH MOSS

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Every day we strive to offer our clients window coverings that are beautiful and high performance. Thanks to innovations in materials and technology across our industry, it is now easier than ever to include window coverings that are environmentally responsible as well. Here are some of the most exciting green window coverings available today.


Of all the window treatment styles, shutters remain a perennial favorite. They never go out of style. They also are extremely resource-intensive from both a material and fabrication standpoint. Natural hardwood shutters are prized for their rich graining and sheen, light weight and structural stability. Graber’s natural wood shutters and blinds come exclusively from North American foresters who practice sustained yield forest management. Sustainable forestry dictates replanting twice as many hardwood trees as are being harvested at any given time to replenish this renewable resource. Graber’s facility in Grayling, MI, is fully self-sufficient when it comes to energy generation for its operations. All wood shavings and sawdust are utilized to generate the energy required to heat the facility and process the lumber. Finishing is completed in Mexico, where the shutter components are stained or painted with eco-friendly water-based paints and handmade into finished goods.


Hartmann&Forbes is a boutique supplier of made-to-order luxury natural woven shades, drapery and wallpaper. Many of their products are made with natural fibers that are rapidly renewable. By sourcing natural fibers such as ramie, banana stem, water hyacinth, arrowroot and bamboo globally, and then working with indigenous weavers at facilities close to where the raw fibers have been harvested, the company supports cottage industries worldwide. Each shade is woven to size, eliminating all waste. The handweaving makes it possible to produce custom shades up to 180 inches wide—much wider than industry norms. The company also sponsors a take-back program that allows customers who are installing new shades to send back their used ones for reuse.


The ever-popular roller shade, now available in a dizzying array of solar fabrics that offer enhanced light-control features, is an easy green move thanks to the extensive GREENGUARD and GREENGUARD Gold certifications undertaken by solar fabric manufacturers like Phifer, Mermet and Vertilux. (The certification process measures a product’s impact on healthy indoor air quality.) Phifer alone has more than 80 fabrics that were awarded GREENGUARD Photo courtesy of Comfortex

certification. Their SheerWeave Infinity2 sustainable solar fabric is woven from 100



iwce preview : the sustainable window

Photo courtesy of Hartmann&Forbes

percent postindustrial recycled fiber. It is 100 percent recyclable

sleeping) or Strataview hardware, which couples a sheer cellular

and offers excellent solar heat and glare control. Plus, Phifer

with your choice of linen weave to provide either light-filtering

offers customers a take-back program for shades that have

or room-darkening performance. Comfortex offers a suite of

reached the end of their useful life.

motorization options, with rechargeable motors by far the most popular.

Solar fabrics are widely available through major window treatment suppliers such as Lafayette Interior Fashions, Porter Preston and Vista and can be motorized in every possible configuration. Consider dual shades (i.e., one light-filtering fabric plus one light-blocking fabric working in tandem) for optimal light control and insulating versatility.


First on the scene to gain credence for insulation and climatecontrol properties, cellular shades have come a long way. The Comfortex Linen Weave cellular shade is GREENGUARD certified and available as light filtering or room darkening in 800 colors in the Color Lux made-to-order line. On-demand fabrication prevails across the entire Color Lux line of draperies, roman shades, sheer shades, roller shades, cellular shades and top treatments to eliminate scrap, as fabric is sized and colorized to order at the New York production facility. Depending on your performance objectives, the Color Lux Linen Weave cellular shade can be outfitted with super-insulating SlumberShades hardware (with light-absorbing tracks best for

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Consider also the company’s Mezzo Motorized Skylight Shades for skylights. They offer a solar panel recharge to trickle charge those out-of-reach windows so effectively that you may never need to manually recharge the batteries. V Deborah Moss, founder of Fairfield County, CT-based Windowful Interiors, has been designing and installing window treatments for decades. A global entrepreneur in technology innovation and environmental stewardship, she offers a unique perspective on sustainable window treatment design and technology. Join Deborah for the workshops “Motorized Window Coverings for Energy Savings and Climate Control,” “The Sustainable Window” and “Selecting the Best Motorization Option for Various Settings” at the International Window Coverings Expo, March 25 to 27 in Charlotte.

Introducing SheerWeave Brite White. Accentuating contemporary design while improving solar heat reduction, P84 Brite White is simply the perfect white for any occasion. Now available in Styles 2500/2410/2390/2360 and widths 63" | 98" | 126"



iwce preview : hot products


IWCE 2020

You come to the International Window Coverings Expo (IWCE) to see the hottest new window coverings products on the market, and manufacturers are excited to show them to you. Here are just a handful of the fabrics, screens, hardware options, software programs and other products you can expect to see this year.


A-Ventures is introducing Ultra Clear Slim, a newly patented, economical “slim” louver control mechanism that will be available to all current AVI Certified Fabricators. The new design gives the same benefits as the original Ultra Clear product, allowing a clear view while cutting costs to the fabricator and, ultimately, the consumer. Both poly and wood versions will be available.


Alta has three exciting products to show at IWCE. Dimensions is a truly new product in the honeycomb shade category. It features a unique cascading profile that offers a dramatic light-filtering effect. The new 1 ¼-inch honeycomb cell is scaled to make a dramatic statement in most standard to large windows. It represents a step up in size from the traditional ¾-inch cell size, yet is still shy of the popular 2-inch Hybrid Pleat size. Alta’s newly refreshed Dual Shades collection is more robust than ever. There are now more patterns, colors and band sizes to reflect what customers are asking for.

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Angel’s Distributing will show off its Bella Notte Silky Double Play Blackout Fabric, which is known for its soft hand, light weight and great drapability without flaring. Optic White and Pale Ivory Silky are the most popular colors for this blackout fabric. Silky Double Play Blackout provides two finished face colors, so sewers can simply flip the bolt to go from white to ivory blackout. The company will also exhibit its Bella Notte Silky Senturion Blackout, featuring Silky Blackout fabric on the face and a soft bonded cotton fleece on the back, and its extended blackout line.


At IWCE, Rollease Acmeda will release the new generation of motorization products under its Automate brand. The Pulse 2 offers the latest in smart-home integration. An Apple HomeKit will allow Apple users to control their Automate shades through smart devices. A separate kit will integrate Automate products with Android devices. The Push5 remote for Automate devices makes it easy to control customized shade groupings per channel. A completely redesigned Automate Solar Panel gives consumers an environmentally friendly charging solution. The Automate DC Power Panel keeps installation clean as a centralized power management station supports up to 18 Automate DC motors (25mm/28mm tube size) per panel.


The inventors of the original QMotion shade are excited to bring two new products to IWCE. Silent Trac is a new, motorized track drapery system designed to improve the drapery experience as a whole. From aesthetic advancements to integration and smart safety features, Silent Trac is the new, premier track drapery system for residential, commercial and hospitality. The company’s new drapery rod, Revolve, is revolutionizing the industry with the only truly motorized rod. For applications with rings, grommets and back tabs, and with varieties in finish and size, Current Products Corp. is confident this motor-in-the-tube solution will set the new standard for motorized drapery rods. for



iwce preview : hot products


Storch International is introducing Apagon, a unique series of woven fiberglass laminated blackouts for roller shades, panel tracks and fabric verticals. The product represents an evolution from standard PES foam-coated blackouts. It can withstand higher heat and direct light, has a higher tearing strength and is ultra stable, making it the ideal solution for high-intensity applications. It provides the high function of a laminated PVC blackout, with high strength, durability and easy cleanability. It has a new, more visually appealing woven look and feel. Apagon comes in a print-media version called XPF that provides outstanding clarity. for


New to Insolroll’s Solar Shade Fabric Collection is the FR Teton Privacy Screen, which was developed for commercial MDU applications. With less than 0.5 percent openness, it maintains the look of a solar screen in a fabric with no view-through. Insolroll is excited to introduce its new Ultra-Quiet DC Motorized Shades in spring 2020. Somfy’s low-voltage 24V wired motor boasts a significantly higher lifting capacity with the same Ultra-Quiet noise level as the UltraQuiet AC motors. The 2020 selling season will be the first for Insolroll’s new exterior waterproof fabric: Dusk. In addition to being waterproof, it is completely opaque and does not allow light to pass through.


Orion Ornamental Iron is introducing seven new finishes to its Italian Collection: Polished Brass, Satin Brass, Antique Brass, Polished Nickel, Polished Black Metal, Polished Rose Gold and Satin Rose Gold. The company is excited to increase choices of finish offerings and allow designers greater flexibility in designing projects. Orion will also be showing its Designer Choice Traversing Collection, which now comes in both manual and motorization. The Bohemia Crystals and Rods with Return products have new design and finish offerings.

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Phifer Incorporated is adding a Brite White color to its SheerWeave Style 2500/2410/2390/2360 line of sun-control fabrics. Brite White is a much cooler tone than the existing Oyster and will complement a more modern design scheme. The company is also excited to introduce six new colors in its Style 5000 line of SheerWeave window covering fabrics. Feather/Clear, Feather/Beige, Feather/Alabaster and Feather/Grey feature a bold, distinct pattern softened by hushed natural and neutral tones. These decorative performance fabrics meet commercial fire certification standards. Two additional fabrics—Jute/Fog and Jute/Smoke—expand the selection of best-selling grays in one of SheerWeave’s most popular existing patterns.


Progressive Screens’ patented MangaTrack exterior motorized screens eliminate 98 percent of service calls, as they will withstand up to 70 mph winds and are the only self-correcting system on the market. Screens can be fabricated up to 30 feet wide by 24 feet high, and have options for utilizing insect and solar screens. At IWCE, the company will showcase the newly launched hurricane screen, which is produced with a 95 percent solar screen material that has been tested and approved to meet the strict standards of Miami-Dade County.


The Smartpad Pro system is the world’s easiest quoting and business management software for window furnishing retailers. It is like having an extra staff member who manages everyone’s work and reports it back to you anytime and on any device. A favorite feature is the workflow manager, which allows everyone to view and manage every step of the sales process, all in one place. With built-in integrations to your existing applications, it allows staff to seamlessly book appointments, measure and quote, and process orders and payments. The for company claims its Pro’s Quote Tool can cut down complex quotes from one hour to 10 seconds.





Counting the ways... R EA SO N #20

We nurture our dealers from the first sprout.

Come visit us and let’s


IWCE | Booth #601



© 2020 Custom Brands Group. All rights reserved.

March 25-27 | Charlotte, NC

iwce preview : hot products

Call 1-877-994-TECH (8324) today! World Leader in Window Treatment Software

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Solatech Focus is based on Solatech SalesPRO, the industry leading point of sale, ordering and business management system. Window fashion professionals can quote work faster, sell more and order instantly, with confidence anywhere, anytime and keep your Focus on your business.


The big difference: fabricator data. Only Solatech has the contractual relationships with your Fabricators who work together to test and approve the validity of the product data that you count on every day. Focus leverages the same fabricator product data that powers Solatech’s SalesPRO.

S IMPLICITY There’s no software to install. Data lives in the cloud, and all features are available through web browsers. Your sales organization can start boosting profits immediately.

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MOBIL ITY Solatech Focus runs on any laptop, Chromebook or tablet, including Apple iPad, that has Internet access. Hardware investments are minimized while portability is maximized.


The Solatech Focus is a cloud-based, industry-specific point of sale (POS) and vendor integration solution designed to save time and money for the retail dealer operating from a showroom or Shop@Home. Like all Solatech POS systems, the Focus system is supported by fabricator-specific product data in partnership with the industry’s leading fabricators. This allows Solatech Focus users to quote, price, sell and order while in the home and on an iPad or any internet-enabled device.

Minimal up-front costs. Simply a monthly subscription fee for each user. Retailers can add or remove users as needed. You start generating ROI from day one. *Apple and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc.

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Space Co. will introduce a brand-new blind fabric called Volt Blackout. It is a highquality blackout fabric that is available at a reasonable price. The design is available in one- or two-tone colors.


Texstyle, a division of Rollease Acmeda, is a specialized fabric solution partner offering a diverse line of quality fabrics. It joined the Rollease Acmeda family of products in 2019.

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Debuting at IWCE 2020, Texstyle will showcase its environmentally conscious and designer-craved textile collections, adding versatility and convenience to the window covering industry. The newest group of solid fabrics is the Sanctuary Blackout Collection. The Balmoral Collection, which will also be shown, provides light-filtering and blackout fabric options to be used in multiple residential window applications. New to the Texstyle designer texture fabric category is the Jersey Light Filtering and Blackout Collection. Dual-roller application preserves the view during the day and switches to privacy at night without changing the room’s aesthetic. Also learn about the Texstyle Visualizer tool, which simulates different fabric types in real-world settings. JANUARY + FEBRUARY 2020 |


The new Vako ultimate roman shade will have four control options: chain, crank-rod, spring/cordless and motorized. All options will also be available in the top-down bottom-up version with our patented double-cord drum. The shade will take 20 percent less time to assemble than others in the market and, because one profile is suited for all operations, it will create stock efficiency. Vako introduced its popular 4-inch snap tape hybrid in 2019 so fabricators have an easy way to create curtains with more body without the extra step of adding buckram. This creates a better look and takes less time to sew and assemble.


With an asymmetrical cross-weaving pattern that gives it a natural two-tone textured look, Tuscany II has quickly become a favorite of customers at Wilson Fabrics. This modern design adds interest and style in both blackout and translucent styles. The translucent option offers superior light-filtering properties, providing privacy while letting in natural light. The range is Australian-made and comes in nine organic colors.



iwce preview : design harmony

Design Harmony: D ESI GN ’S IN FLUEN C E o n H EA LT H a n d W EL L N E S S BY MIKE PETERSON

ROOM DESIGN BY MICHELLE CASTAGNA, MUSE DESIGN STUDIO. PHOTO BY ED BUTERA, IBI DESIGNS The lack of color and neutrality creates a sense of calm in an overstimulated world. Mixing in plenty of organic and natural elements allows the natural elements—which people are inherently draw to—to stand out. Leaving the window treatments simple helps to keep the focus on the exterior views. Drapery panels and roman shades fabricated by Drapery Castle, Boynton Beach, FL.

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Interested in learning more about Design Harmony? Check out these books or find links to articles and research papers on our website,

“Beauty, Neuroscience, and Architecture: Timeless Patterns and Their Impact on Our Well-Being” by Donald H. Ruggles “Natural by Design: People, Natural Process, and Ecological Restoration” by Eric Higgs


The workplace thrives with Design Harmony. The medical community prescribes Design Harmony. Nations around the world emphasize Design Harmony. Designers, it’s time that you, too, get credit for creating the health and wellness benefits inherent in Design Harmony! The most exciting development in the design industry today is the recognition that great design improves health and wellness in the home. This is called Design Harmony, and it’s a curriculum that teaches this important idea: When interior designers create environments that are beautiful and welldesigned, it encourages health and wellness.

currently influencing the world of design. LEED, the Sustainable Furnishings Council’s GREENleaders program and the WELL Building Standard focus on sustainability and the certifiability of a product’s influence on health and wellness. Design Harmony is not about the physical; it is about the emotional and psychological rewards that great residential design produces.

A Prescription for Nature

The medical industry in many Far East countries are well ahead of the States in incorporating healthy design into the home environment. In the 1980s, Japan, for instance, began to implement the idea of shinrin yoku. Shinrin yoku is the Japanese

For years we have known, anecdotally, that good design makes us feel better. That idea is no longer anecdotal. It’s now proven. Neuroaesthetics is a relatively new term that looks at the neurological response we have to art, design and beauty. We know, for instance, that when we see something of beauty, we get a shot of serotonin in our brain. When we do, we feel better. Alternatively, when we see something disturbing and unattractive, we get a shot of cortisol, a hormone that helps us cope with negative imagery. When you produce beauty in your designs, you are improving the psychological and emotional welfare of your clients by increasing their serotonin levels and decreasing the amount of cortisol the body produces. The other term that’s important to understand when studying Design Harmony is biophilic design. Biophilia, or biophilic design, uses the look and feel of nature in the home environment. Woods, cylindrical lines, greenery, natural light and burbling water are just a few of the emotional stimulants designers can use. Design Harmony is not to be confused with the other wellness-related programs

word for “forest bathing,” or the medicine of simply being in the forest. Note that I say “medicine.” In the Far East, doctors now prescribe forest bathing as a medicinal alternative to a bottle of pills. It has become a cornerstone of preventive healthcare and healing in Japanese medicine. (In a way, shinrin yoku is a sibling to biophilia. Biophilic design means bringing nature into the home, and shinrin yoku means going out into nature.) Medical associations in countries like Canada and the U.K. are incorporating design benefits as medicines. On November 1, 2018, the medical group Médecins francophones du Canada began allowing doctors to prescribe visits to museums, design centers and art galleries as a remedy for selected ills. In the U.K., doctors are employing what

they call “social prescribing,” which includes immersing the patient into multiple arts and cultural experiences. Doctors here are becoming more aware of the benefits of good design. In her thesis, Dr. Claudia Miller from the University of Texas School of Medicine stated, “Architects and designers have a greater ability to improve public health than medical professionals.” Lowering stress through design is a preventative approach to good health that helps offset the need for medical intervention.

Working for Better Interiors

Why is commercial design so far ahead of residential design when it comes to healthy environments? Major companies want productivity and increased creativity and learned years ago that by providing a healthbased environment they will increase both. A recent study of 7,600 workers in 16 countries found that those who worked in spaces with green or other natural features reported a 15 percent higher level of well-being, 6 percent more productivity and 15 percent more creativity. Increasing productivity by 6 percent increases a company’s annual profit by $3,395 per employee every year. This fact alone is why companies like Apple, Amazon, Etsy and so many more are incorporating healthy design principles into the work environment.

Getting Started with Design Harmony

As Americans of all ages become increasingly focused on health and wellness, they are looking for service providers who share their values and interests. By incorporating Design Harmony into your business, your value to your client multiplies. Increased value means increased revenue. How can you take better advantage of the groundswell of the Design Harmony movement? It starts by making sure that your design creates those “aha” moments for your client—those moments that will provide them with a shot of serotonin.



iwce preview : design harmony

To do that, we have developed a series of questions that you may want to ask in the early stages of research with the client. SOME EXAMPLES ARE:

Each one of these questions will provide an answer to guide how you design—based on feelings and emotional rewards, not just color preference and space planning.

You Need to Market the Health Benefits








While the last question may put a smile on your face, it’s important to note that eliminating existing anxiety is very much a part of Design Harmony’s mission. It is not just about providing beauty

Adding just a few words to your marketing materials will also help position you as differentiated from your competition and increase your value proposition. A few key phrases, such as “peace of mind,” “your needs and emotions” and “your health and wellness” will show prospective clients that you offer more than just design. Here’s an example of website text that was improved by using just a few health- and wellness-based phrases:

At ABC Design Studio, we work closely with our clients

to create home interiors that provide pleasure and healthy environments. We are a full-service design studio with a personal approach to your needs and emotions. It’s your peace of mind that’s important as you let us handle all the necessary details. Your health and wellness in your home is our goal.

and alluring imagery; it is about creating an environment that lowers stress and yields health and wellness.

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ROOM DESIGN BY MICHELLE CASTAGNA, MUSE DESIGN STUDIO. PHOTO BY NICK SARGENT The designer’s goal was to make this Florida home feel like a “vacation” through the use of soothing, watery coastal tones and warm woods, representing some elements from West Indies styling. Biophilic elements were also included both indirectly and directly to create a sense of harmony within the space. Window treatments fabricated by Drapery Castle.



The design industry has always offered more than color, fabrics and balance. We provide joy, happiness and fulfillment. We spread well-being and health to all our clients. There’s never been a better time to highlight that fact—which is now documented and no longer just a feeling. So, I urge you to realize the new opportunity in front of you. Learn from workplace design, the medical industry and countries around the world and embrace the Design Harmony curriculum. Becoming a steward of its concepts will add value to your business. V Learn more about Design Harmony at Friday’s Lunch & Learn seminar, “Design Harmony: Design’s Influence on Health and Wellness,” sponsored by IFDA. You can also join Mike for the workshops “The Power of Personal Branding” and “Solutions to the Online Challenges Faced by Designers” at the International Window Coverings Expo, March 25 to 27 in Charlotte

This collection is available from stock in 19 fashion colors Although Mike Peterson has taught short CEU-accredited

courses on Design Harmony, he and IDFA have developed an expansive certification program for designers

interested in having their company designated as a

health- and wellness-based design firm. The curriculum

Order your sample card today to see the other colors. USA Canada

will include classes on psychology, neuroaesthetics,

marketing, lighting and sensory design. The course will be taught at the spring High Point Market for the first

time. More details will be available at the International Window Coverings Expo or at

Come visit us at IWCE Vision Expo, March 25 - 27 2020, Charlotte NC USA V ISION |


iwce preview : schedule





JoAnne Lenart-Weary Roger Magalhaes Cheryl Meiklejohn

WFCP Color Certification 1WEC WFCP Installation Certification 2WEC WFCP Window Fashion Design Certification 3WEC

O’D McKewan Mike Peterson Deborah Moss Sara Lynn Brennan LuAnn Nigara Melissa Galt Stacey Brown Randall Ann Johnson Vita Vygovska, LuAnn Nigara, Sara Lynn Brennan

Mastering Motorization 4WE The Power of Personal Branding 5WE Panel: Selecting the Best Motorization Option 6WE How and Why to Package Your Services… 7WE Closing the Sale: It Begins at Hello 8WE Instagram Insights and Strategies 9WE Customer Service vs Client Experience 10WE Creative Solutions for Workroom Disasters 11WE Panel: Best Business Practices for Succeeding with Window Coverings in 2020 and Beyond 12WE

Wednesday, March 25


6:00 pm-8:30 pm

CERTIFICATION 8:00-4:00 8:00-4:00 8:00-4:00 SEMINARS Super Session 9:00-12:00 9:00-10:15 9:00-10:15 9:00-10:15 9:00-10:15 10:30-11:45 10:30-11:45 10:30-11:45 10:30-11:45 Lunch & Learn

12:00-1:00 1:30-2:45 1:30-2:45 1:30-2:45 1:30-2:45

Mike Peterson Sara Lynn Brennan Melissa Galt Ann Johnson O’D McKewan

Design Harmony: IFDA Sponsored Create Informational Lead Magnets… The Social Media Routine That Drives Revenue Taming Sheer & Casement Fabrics Introduction to Motorization

13WE 15WE 16WE 17WE 18WE

Super Session


Vince & LuAnn Nigara, Michele Williams Stacey Randall Deborah Moss Vita Vygovska

Panel: Profitability – Know Your Numbers Referrals Without Asking Motorized Window Coverings Window Treatments De-Mystified

19WESS 20WE 21WE 22WE

Moderator: Jana Platina Phipps with Cheryl Luckett, Melissa Lee, Brenna Morgan

Designer Panel: Charlotte’s Design Royalty


Staging Super Session Maximizing Efficiency in Your Workroom… Best Pricing Strategies Installers Toolbox Details Behind the Design... The Sustainable Window Monthly Metrics for the Profitable Business The Secret Profit in Embellishments Develop Partnerships with Designers… Solutions to the Online Challenges…


3:00-4:15 3:00-4:15 3:00-4:15 Designer Panel




Welcome Reception

Thursday, March 26



9:00 am-5:00 pm 9:00-12:00 9:00-10:15 9:00-10:15 9:00-10:15 9:00-10:15 10:30-11:45 10:30-11:45 10:30-11:45 10:30-11:45 10:30-11:45

JoAnne Lenart-Weary Ann Johnson Michele Williams Roger Magalhaes Cheryl Meiklejohn Deborah Moss Michele Williams Jana Platina Phipps LuAnn Nigara, Sara Brennan Mike Peterson

5:30-6:00 6:00-7:30

Cocktail Reception VISION Design & Workroom Competition Awards


Friday, March 27


9:00 am-3:00 pm

Super Session

9:00-10:15 9:00-10:15 9:00-10:15 11:00-12:00

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Jana Platina Phipps JoAnne Lenart-Weary Roger Magalhaes IWCE Faculty


Social Media Basics: How-Tos and Hacks eDesign Installation 101 100 Best Ideas


WORKROOM CENTRAL SCHEDULE WFCP Workroom Central is the place that brings the industry full circle. Designers, fabricators and installers find inspiration in the creative vignettes and learn new skills from the hands-on demonstrations.

Wednesday, March 25th SHOW FLOOR 6:30 7:00

6:00 pm-8:30 pm

Design to Install – Cathy Tucker Installer Panel – Tim Sanders, Roger Magalhaes, Tina Fontana, Ken VanSickle, Jim O’Brien

Thursday, March 26th SHOW FLOOR 9:00 9:30 10:30 11:00 11:30 12:00 1:00 1:30 2:00 2:30 3:00 3:30 4:00 4:30

9:00 am-5:00 pm

Rowley: Motorized H-Rail for Drapery – Donna Cash Getting Ready for Fabrication – Rose Mary LeBlanc & Amanda Deal Smith Techniques for Bulky Lining – Anna Davis Beyond the Monogram – Donna Scott Johnson Most Commonly Used Hand Stitching – Terry Sandlin Airtable: Track Projects, Manage Workflow and More! – Julia Hash and Cathy Cuddington Making Good Use with That Bias Tape Maker – Terry Sandlin 20 Must-Have Tools & Supplies for Every Workroom – Ann K. Johnson Perfect Mitered Banding – Cathy Tucker The Efficient Workroom – Carol Dykhouse Building an Ottoman Frame – Ken VanSickle No Visible Bed Skirt Fabrication Method – Rose Mary LeBlanc & Amanda Deal Smith Setting Up Templates in Goodnotes – Anna Davis Draw Matic – Cathy Tucker

Friday, March 27th SHOW FLOOR 9:00 9:30 10:00 10:30 11:00 11:30 12:00 1:00 1:30 2:00 2:30

9:00 am-3:00 pm

VAKO-NEW Headrail System – Nanne Valkenburg R-TEC Motorized Roman Shades – Donna Cash Roman Blackout Shade Technique – Julia Hash Roman Shade Headrail Systems–Chain to Motorization – Sandra VanSickle Motorization & Programming – Jacquelyn Weber No-Sew Roman Shades – Tina Fontana Monogram from Concept to Creation – Donna Scott Johnson Upcycling Embellishements – Jana Platina Phipps Interchangeable Ottoman – Karly Dickson Fabric Marbling – Jill Seale Pillow Raffle

Early Registration

by January 25th



Register at

Marya Flurnoy Founder and CEO of Creative Design Team Interior Design Firm, Just Be It - Business Development and Mentoring, and Enhance the Space Feng Shui Energy

Master the Energy of Business with Feng Shui & Quantum Scripting Starts Febuary 26th $290.00 V ISION |


industry :

5 things you need to know about eDesign


I have been in the design and staging industry for over 40 years. Every 10 years or so, I see a new twist on the art of creating beautiful rooms. This “new” service is typically about approaching the process in a different way. Whether

you call it short-term rental design, redesign, One-Day Decorating, Staging to Sell or something else, the goal is always the same: creating a service that suits a client’s needs and delights them in the process. Elsie de Wolfe, the mother of the profession of interior decorating in 1905, would agree that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

The “new” kid on the block right now is eDesign, which arms the client with a recipe for a beautiful room. eDesign takes place entirely online and supplies clients with ideas about how to decorate their spaces themselves, using the resources they can find virtually or in their local community. Advocates advertise it as a convenient, affordable way to get a home that looks like it has been professionally decorated. eDesign has already had its highs and lows. Some of the early corporate adopters experienced failure, leaving behind unpaid designers and clients without the design plan they ordered. In many cases, the pricing models of the products were so low, the business model was destined to fail. The failure of those early businesses has led many eDesigners to control their destiny by launching their own business or adding eDesign to existing services. I surveyed eDesigners from around the country to provide you a look into this niche. Here is what I learned.

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Rendering courtesy of Jenna Gaidusek



industry :

5 things you need to know about eDesign

eDesign Is a Team Sport Pinterest, Instagram and HGTV unleashed a world of DIY decorators, many who simply need inspiration and validation. The collaborative quality of eDesign provides the client confidence and ideas they may not have had on their own. Jenna Gaidusek of Jenna Gaidusek Designs in the Bronx, NY, an eDesign pioneer and founder of eDesign Tribe, an online community and training resource for eDesigners, says, “In a world where everyone has a perception of how life ‘should’ look through a social media filter, a desire for well-styled, affordable decorating services has gained popularity. The demand will only get stronger and more powerful as technologies advance and consumer awareness is raised. eDesign is quick, easy and produces a beautiful result that can change the way the client functions in their home.” Shannon Levy of Shannon Levy Interiors in San Francisco observes that hiring a designer used to be for the wealthy. eDesign bridges the gap between the super wealthy and the rest of us who value quality of design and its impact on our lives.

ABOVE: Photo courtesy of Rayana Schmitz BOTTOM LEFT: Rendering courtesy of Jenna Gaidusek

eDesign Can Be as Big or Little as the Client Wants My very first long-distance or eDesign project was in 1985, when a wonderful client moved from Erie, PA, to Plano, TX. We selected paint, rearranged furniture, ordered new pieces and created custom window treatments for her entire home via photos, numerous back-and-forth packages and a detailed lesson in measuring via the phone. I have also done many eDesign projects that were simply virtual color consultations. Most eDesigners offer a small, medium and large package option. Based on the eDesigners I surveyed, packages ranged from $150 to $2,000. Rayana Schmitz of Firefinish Interiors in Broward County, FL, says, “This process is a lot more cost-effective since we are not typically implementing it for the customer and the number of revisions is limited. I would say it is about one-third of the cost per room.”

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ABOVE: Rendering courtesy of Eliane Munza

Does eDesign appeal to you? Join the eDesign Tribe on Facebook with Jenna Gaidusek. Rendering courtesy of Eliane Munza



industry :

5 things you need to know about eDesign

TOP LEFT: Rendering courtesy of Eliane Munza BELOW: Room design by Missy Borgen. Photo by David Hill BOTTOM LEFT: Courtesy of Shelby Novak

The Process Bears Similarities to Traditional Design It begins with client communication and understanding their needs and expectations. The next step is often a mood or concept board, which may include beautiful 3D renderings, space planning, a shopping list and a detailed “how to” guide, depending on the package one purchases. Some even offer a physical “Room in a Box” service and ship the eDesign package with the plan, renderings, fabric and paint samples in a beautiful, branded box. If the thought of technology terrifies you, there is an entire cottage industry of people willing to create renderings for you. Shelby Novak with Novak Design Co. in Toronto, Ontario, says her typical process begins with a questionnaire and obtaining dimensions and photos of the space. That leads to the mood board presentation or other services contingent on the package the client purchases.

eDesign Doesn’t Mean Your Client Is Trying to Cheap Out In fact, Missy Borgen of Custom Interiors & Design in Thief River Falls, MN, always suggests custom elements, such as windows treatments and pillows. The client may blend stock goods with custom items, resulting in a oneof-a-kind room. Borgen recommends workrooms and custom window treatment specialists consider adding this service to their mix for increased revenue. Many of the eDesign companies that failed last year were offering packages for $79 or less. You deserve more than that, so charge accordingly. If technology is not your forte, do not charge your client for your learning curve. Keep prices fair, as you will get faster with every job you do.

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ABOVE: Rendering provided by Mary Ann Benoit

Experience Level Varies Mary Ann Benoit of Northern Lights Home Staging and Design in Seward, AK, began as a traditional interior designer and continues to work with local clients. She has expanded her services to include eDesign, and many of her clients are professionals or people who are newly retired. Eliane Munza does not have traditional design experience but offers eDesign while pursuing her design degree. Tina Guevara, founder and principal designer of Juliette Sebastian Interiors in Bergen County, NJ, has over 10 years of experience in traditional design; however, she has seen an increase in eDesign work and expanded her offerings. She plans to continue to do traditional design, as her local clients still benefit from those services, but is excited about reaching a broader geographical area. So whether you are just starting or looking for a new revenue stream, eDesign may be exactly what you are looking for. V

JoAnne Lenart-Weary has been creating beautiful rooms for more than 40 years. She has appeared on HGTV and ABC and is a frequent speaker for The-DSA, IWCE, WCAA, RESA, IAHSP and many other organizations. JoAnne founded The Decorating and Staging Academy in 1999 and has taught thousands how to create beautiful rooms through decorating and staging. JoAnne will present a workshop on eDesign at the International Window Coverings Expo, March 25 to 27 in Charlotte. She is also the trainer for the Window Fashion Certified Professional color certification course and will give a super session on home staging. Facebook: JoanneLenartWeary Facebook: HowToDecorateAndStage



industry : creative streams of income

Unlocking Creative Streams of Income Make 2020 the year you welcome new income streams that also help you have fun and grow your design business BY MARYA FLURNOY

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When I first realized I had money to invest from my successful interior design business, it was brought to my attention by my sweet, accounting-driven husband that perhaps we should buy stocks and bonds. I considered that boring; it sounded like days of studying miles of small print. Investing in stocks is a good thing. It just wasn’t for me. That’s when I discovered what I call creative streams of income. This is the process of increasing your visibility and creative energy to make money flow into your business in a way that seems effortless. My first creative stream of income was an investment in a condo-motel resort on the beach. I had accumulated $40,000 in savings. I wanted to invest in something exciting. I had dreams of owning a condo on the beach, which seemed impossible. But while investigating the commercial ads in the newspaper, I stumbled across an ad that said, “Condo for sale, by owner. Divorce sale.”

I called and spoke to a lovely woman who explained her situation. An hour and a half later, I closed the deal over the phone. Not only did the condo make money in rentals, but I figured out that I could meet all the owners and propose to remodel and decorate all their units, thereby increasing the value of the whole property. We ended up selling the condo a year later for double the amount we paid. Today, I again own condo-motel units and have remodeled and decorated most of them. I didn’t have to promote my design and remodeling business. My condo did that for me. You may be saying, “That’s great, but I don’t have extra money to invest.” The good news is there are plenty of ways to expand your money flow without making a major investment. Again, it comes from introducing yourself to the possibility of meeting new clients and gaining new referrals while having fun. Here’s a story about one of my coaching clients. Lisa started her own business as a home stager and organizer. She was lost on how to attract clients, let alone find an extra stream of income. I assisted her in developing a plan to creatively



industry : creative streams of income Fourth, trust, believe, be patient and stay focused. You do not have to tell the world what is going on in your mind, but you do have to tell yourself you are on the right track. And fifth, start exploring how other people create opportunities for themselves and how that can be possible for you. Here are some possibilities to investigate as you get started.

visualize her plan of action. Exactly a month later, she stumbled across a Mary Kay consultant and the two of them began putting on home parties together. Lisa would stage the table for the makeup and redecorate the host’s living room. The Mary Kay consultant would give her talk and, at the end of the evening, hold some Q&A time for Lisa. Four years later, Lisa’s business is thriving. Though she no longer personally co-hosts the home parties, she hired a part-time assistant to co-host and the streams continue. Lisa also invested in being a Mary Kay consultant, creating another stream. Her assistant handles all the Mary Kay events, while Lisa continues to stage and decorate homes. Now, both ladies are prospering, while developing more events and a lifetime friendship. In my Home Enhancing class, I give five principles that help people open up themselves to the possibility of new streams of income. First, be open to any and all possibilities. The truth is you do not know everything. How was I to know that I would be promoting my business by redecorating condo-motel units? Second, decide that you are ready to run your decorating business while having fun and making money. Everyone you encounter could lead to a client or stream of income. Third, visualize. As a designer, you already know how to visualize. Now, sharpen your tools. See and feel yourself having more time for fun and play. See and feel what you plan on doing with the extra income. You have the power to create more streams, buy the dream house, send all your children to college. Whatever it is that makes your heart sing, see it, feel it and, yes, even sing it!

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Jewelry boutique: Start small by wearing jewelry and getting compliments. Investigate the wholesale possibilities and start carrying some of your favorite pieces. Have a friend or client host a home party. Set up an area in your studio to display jewelry and accessories. As the profits increase, you may want to find a partner and open an accessory shop, or partner with another designer where you both carry the lines.

Book writing: Self-publish a book of your designs, photos and tips. Contact your favorite charity and work out an agreement to give them a portion of every purchase. They will advertise it for you.

Home goods from scraps: We have all made pillows and potholders with the fabric scraps we accumulate. Now, find a specialty boutique or gourmet kitchen shop that will sell your designs. They will do the Facebook and Etsy posting and promote you as the “home designer” who also creates these one-of-a-kind finds.

There is a world out there that is bigger than we are. A focused and patient mind allows for situations to unfold and shifts to happen in your life. If we can just allow our mind-chatter to get out of the way and open ourselves to possibilities, the streams start flowing easier than you can imagine. Happy streaming! V

Marya Flurnoy, MSIG, is a designer, speaker, mindset mentor and intuitive coach. She is the founder and CEO of Creative Design Team, JBI (Just Be It), I AM Empowered Network and Skye & Star. She also owns a stake in restaurants and a Clearwater Beach boutique hotel. For nearly 30 years, she has worked to create a prosperous interior design firm and build a strong foundation for many other businesses, coaching clients and designers on her team. Marya teaches precise methods of enthusiastically expecting excellence and success, turning businesses around from mediocre to thriving. Her certified Home Enhancing course and newest book, “The Energy of Everything for Business,” will be released in 2020. Facebook: CreativeDesignTeamFL Instagram: CreativeDesignTeam Pinterest: CreativeDesignTeam














EASYBALANCE® compatible

TDBU option and spring system available in 2020




industry : economical, evolutionary, energy-saving shades


LEFT: Insolroll solar shades

RIGHT: Shades by Alta

ABOVE: PowerShades' patented TruePoE motor with ethernet cable LEFT: PowerShades Pinnacle series cassette option for indoor shade

ABOVE RIGHT: Affinity series indoor open role system by PowerShades RIGHT: PowerShades' indoor PoE shade with an external hem bar option LEFT: Insolroll solar shades

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Roller shades, the oldest and simplest of window treatments, never go out of style. Easy to operate, a breeze to dress up or down, energy efficient, economical and timeless, roller shades— and their newer, sophisticated offspring—are more versatile and popular than ever. Shades have been with us a long time. According to Hauser Shade Company’s “A Brief History on the Origins of Window Roller Shades,” “The first shades to appear in windows were painted roller shades … (W)indow shades began being used widely in the eighteenth century in Holland, France and England. In America, window shades began appearing in homes and public buildings around 1780. Because these shades were made of translucent cloth or paper, their decorative designs could be seen by both the building’s inhabitants and those passing by outside.” Gone are the days of hand-painted shades made of cloth or paper. Today, light-, heat- and UV-blocking fabric choices, trendsetting colors, ease of operation and an attractive price point are the features consumers look for when deciding on roller shades. And when it comes to greening up your home or business, shades of all sorts and descriptions offer ample environmentally conscious solutions.

options and for interior, exterior, manual or motorized applications. The company offers a line of fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles as well as PVC-free fabrics, both of which are excellent choices for LEED buildings. Not surprisingly, motorized shades continue to grow in popularity, with mid-size residential applications gaining traction. “Motorization doesn’t have to require a lot of high tech,” says Newby. “It’s user friendly and accessible in entry-level systems for one room or an entire home. It’s easy to operate via a handheld remote, tablet or phone, or a wall switch.”





Great and Green

“Solar shades are how Insolroll began,” says Kim Newby, marketing lead. “They are inherently green because they reduce energy usage (and) decrease cooling load and the carbon footprint of every building in which they are installed. Solar shades control sun, heat and glare while still allowing the view. They block up to 99 percent of UV, which is excellent not only for protecting your furniture and carpeting from cracking and fading, but for protecting the skin and eyes of the inhabitants of the house.” Insolroll solar shades are available in blackout and translucent

Jessica Bondell, senior project manager, fabrics for Rollease Acmeda, another giant in the solar roller shade business, touts the environmental benefits of motorization. “Motorization combined with the right fabric optimizes energy savings (and) heat and light control on our roller shades. Metalized fabrics let light in while controlling heat—so you don’t have to blast the air conditioner and increase greenhouse gases.” The company is currently working with several partners to source PVC- and halogen-free fabrics, which would make the shades recyclable.

“We’re close to introducing those products,” says Bondell. “Everyone wants to be environmentally friendly, but not everyone wants to or can pay for it. We’re developing products that are environmentally sound, obtainable and more affordable at a cost that is a 10 to 15 percent increase rather than costing up to twice as much.”

Motorization Made More Affordable, Convenient

To that end, enter PowerShades, a motorized system for roller shades that the company claims can be installed and maintained by the purchaser for about 30 percent less than its competitors. PowerShades readily integrates with nearly any home-automation system to deliver precision control for roller shades utilizing V ISION |


industry : economical, evolutionary, energy-saving shades

Solar shades by Alta

a technology (such as Alexa or Google Home) that is already incorporated into the user’s life. Shades open, close, raise and lower as the days, seasons and inhabitants’ behaviors change. “Our custom cloud-based dashboard allows integrators—smarthome dealers, window covering dealers or end users (property owners)—to schedule the shades without aid from a third party. We have a web program—set ’em and forget ’em—that anyone is capable of operating,” says Ethan Turner, director of sales and marketing. In the fall of 2019, PowerShades launched power-over-the-ethernet (PoE) at the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA) show in Denver. This proprietary technology, which is exclusive to PowerShades, allows a motor to operate via an ethernet switch. “With PoE, there is a low-voltage hookup. No propriety wire or electrician is needed,” says Turner. “This low-voltage frequency delivers communication and operation over one cable. This technology is extremely energy efficient, as hundreds of data points can be read at once and adjustments to shade settings changed quickly in response. Sales are really booming. We’ve seen massive growth and expansion for two years and it’s not slowing down. It’s a hot market.” Jere Gianola, program manager of motorization at Rollease Acmeda, touts the company's Automate line for innovation and integration. "Automate utilizes an industry-leading proprietary two-way communication platform. Shades both receive signals and communicate back position reports and battery level status within the Automate app. The platform also enables integration with every major system including Alexa, Google Home and Apple HomeKit, as well as every major home automation system."

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At Alta Window Fashions, roller shades are also the most popular motorized product, accounting for more than 20 percent of sales. “We operate on the good, better, best approach to motorization,” says Lynn Ranger, vice president of marketing. PowerWand is Alta’s low-cost, entry-level motorization system. In the better category, the motorized remote systems operate with the touch of a button. “Better is the best-selling category because it hits the sweet spot on price and function,” says Ranger. The top-ofthe-line motors can be operated from an app on a mobile device or through home-automation systems. Alta plans to showcase a new motorization program at the International Window Coverings Expo (IWCE) in Charlotte in March. The company will roll out several other new programs this spring and summer, including a fully updated shades collection and its new zebra combination Dual Shade collection.

Cool Shades

Roller shades are not the only hot-selling item at Alta. Its window shadings category is strong as well. The sheer horizontal shades contain soft S-shaped louvered vanes that can be opened or closed based on light, heat and privacy considerations. “Window Shadings provide wonderful UV protection,” says Ranger. “They block 87 percent of harmful UV rays, even with the vanes open. From a daylighting perspective they can’t be beat. Sunlight comes in, bounces off the S vane, diffuses the light through the sheers and then disperses that light deep into the room. You get more light in the room, so less artificial light is needed, and less energy is consumed.” Window shadings come in two opacity options: light-filtering and light-dimming. Light-filtering provides total privacy without being a blackout shade.

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industry : economical, evolutionary, energy-saving shades

PowerShades' outdoor hardwired shades with a cable track system

William Liu, president of HT Window Fashions, says cellular shades meet all the needs his customers seek: privacy, UV blocking, light control, insulation and safety. “The unique structure of cellular shades traps air between the fabric, which functions as an insulator to block cold air in the winter and hot air in the summer,” says Liu. “Cellular shades also have multiple operating systems, including cordless and motorized, which give customers lots of options.” HT boasts an array of nonwoven, woven and fire-retardant fabrics. Its newest introduction, bamboo shades, is available in several prints in both light-filtering and blackout.

Fabrics and Colors

Consumers are increasingly looking for fabrics that are ecofriendly or use technology to provide a beautiful look for less. “There is a trend in green fabrics like Phifer GreenStory and Sheerweave 400 series,” says Turner from PowerShades. “We offer 20 PVC-free products that help reduce solar heat and lower greenhouse gas emissions.” Ranger points to Peaceful Allure, a linen-like nonwoven fabric that is textured, durable and will not fray or pill. Available in a variety of grays and neutrals in the honeycomb collection by Alta, Peaceful Allure will debut at IWCE in March.

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Two fabrics in Insolroll’s core line are generating excitement. Sandia is a horizontal striated textured fabric available in 1 and 3 percent openness in on-point gray. Multidimensional Elm is equally at home in a cool or warm color scheme. Rollease Acmeda offers two decorative fabrics, Karuna and Mandal, made of 100 percent recycled polyester that provide the benefits of PVC coating, without the off-gassing and harm to the environment caused by PVC. The Karuna Collection features seven neutral colors, including a dark and light gray, in a transparent intricate open weave. The Mandal Collection is available in six scrumptious colors, including mustard and a sassy dark blue, in a light-filtering, woodgrain-like weave. When it comes to trending shade colors, all agree that gray is dominating the scene. “Grays, grays and more grays and a little bit of taupe,” says Bondell. “Neutrals have always been the most popular seller, but the market has migrated toward grays, both warm and cool.” Whether your client is looking to update their bedroom, living room or entire house, or you’re tackling a bigger commercial project, you can’t go wrong with shades. Versatile, fashionable, functional and increasingly environmentally friendly, shades are leading the way. V




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inspiration : queen of green

of Queen


Photos by Dennis Jourdan, Dennis Jourdan Photo & Video

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Those mealtime conversations, plus some outside exposure to the world of design, had her hooked on interior design from a young age. “My grandmother used to bring over Architectural Digest magazines for my mom to read,” she says. “When I was in fourth grade, I would sit in the basement and read these magazines and think, ‘I would be really good at that.” While getting her interior design degree, Anderson fell in love with window treatments thanks to a summer job at a drapery retail shop. Years after college, she decided to purchase a “sleepy little upholstery shop that maybe did 10 percent draperies.” She’s spent the past 13 years growing that tiny company into a multi-awardwinning drapery design firm with four full-time designers.

Since becoming a window treatment professional, Anderson has developed into a passionate advocate for using greener products. The health of clients and workers is one of her top concerns. “I worry about the sewers,” she says. “If they’re sewing hundreds of yards of fabrics that have flame retardants, for example, there’s nothing in our industry to protect their hands or their lungs.” She’s mindful of the impact that chemicals can have on homeowners, in part because she’s faced some health issues of her own. She has a thyroid condition that makes her extremely sensitive to the chemicals used in flame-retardant fabrics. In addition, Anderson has grown concerned about products that can damage the natural environment by leaching toxic chemicals into waterways, putting dangerous fumes into the air or putting more plastic into the world’s oceans. There are plenty of examples of people being told products were safe when they turned out to be anything but (lead, asbestos and

DDT are just a few examples). “I read a book about how they used to put arsenic in wallpapers to make the color more vibrant,” Anderson says. “Everyone used to say, ‘What’s the big deal? So there’s a little poison.’ That was until people started getting sick. I feel very much the same way about some of the materials we use today.”



Leigh Anderson, owner of Willow Drapery & Upholstery in Glenview, IL, came by her love of textiles naturally. “My family owned textile mills, so there was this greater force in my life educating me about fabric from a young age,” she says. “Draperies were a common topic around the dinner table.”

I read a book about how they used to put arsenic in wallpapers to make the color more vibrant,” Anderson says. “Everyone used to say, ‘What’s the big deal? So there’s a little poison.’ That was until people started getting sick. I feel very much the same way about some of the materials we use today.


Anderson shares some of the products she avoids for health, environmental or animal-cruelty reasons, as well as alternatives that can be used in their place.


The documentary “Blue Vinyl,” which investigated the production and use of vinyl, is what initially spurred Anderson’s interest in greener products. When polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is made, it creates dioxins, which are powerful carcinogens that can also cause respiratory problems and birth defects. Although the substance is supposed to be contained at manufacturing plants, a certain amount finds its way into the environment and workers’ bodies. PVC is quite brittle but can be made flexible with the addition of plasticizers, which contain phthalates and a number of other harmful chemicals like lead and heavy metals. “It turns out that most



inspiration : queen of green

of those things can leach out of the plastic over time,” says Anderson. “I don’t like the idea of something leaching into a customer’s house from something I sold them.” That concern is particularly pressing for people with children or pets, whose small size makes them disproportionately affected by chemical contaminants. Type II vinyls, which are made to a newer standard than the original Type I standard, aren’t supposed to leach chemicals. However, since they are still made of PVC, they still produce dioxins. Anderson has simply abandoned vinyl and gone to a polyurethane alternative. “They don’t have to add the plasticizers to it, so there’s not the leaching problem,” she says. There are also silicone-based fabrics that have the performance of vinyl without the dioxins.

Fire Retardants

In 2011, the Chicago Tribune published a series exposing the dangers of exposure to flame retardants, which are added to furniture and textiles of all kinds. Flame retardants made with bromine may interfere with the way iodine is absorbed by the body. “They are especially dangerous to anyone with a thyroid issue,” says Anderson. Overexposure to brominated or other organohalogenic flame retardants is now thought to contribute to autoimmune conditions, cause endocrine system disruption and negatively affect thyroid and metabolic function. People who work on commercial projects may have no choice but to use fabrics that contain flame retardants, as they are often required for restaurants, senior living communities and other facilities. But residential designers might discuss the concerns about fire retardants with homeowners and help them find products that do not contain them. Since California repealed its requirement that furnishings be treated with flame retardants, it is easier to find fabric and foam that does not contain these chemicals. In addition, wool and silk are naturally flame resistant and can be used in place of treated fabrics in residential settings.

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Recommended Products Here are a few manufacturers of green products that Leigh Anderson recommends: Comfortex offers all of their Color Lux roller shades in polyesters. “Screen shades and blackout shades are the most difficult to find PVC-free and Comfortex has the biggest variety,” Anderson notes. Mecho offers a PVC-free roller shade. Look for the “PVC free” icon on some of their samples. Lutron provides designers with a list so they can easily determine whether a roller shade is PVC-free or not. Two Sisters Ecotextiles offers organic drapery, upholstery, bedding, apparel and tabletop fabric. They also have an excellent blog that discusses issues such as commonly found chemicals in fabric, green certifications, the impacts of plastic and policy changes that affect the design industry.



7 New Italian Finishes

ABOVE Anderson developed this special pleat style where thread is hand-wrapped around each pleat. BELOW Bottom-up roman shades in a master bathroom. Anderson’s goal was to create “artistic privacy.” A textured sheer fabric lined with the lightest-weight privacy lining on the market allows sunlight and shadows to filter through while still providing privacy.

Top off your custom creations with our new 7 on-trend finishes from the Italian Collection. We’ve doubled your finish choices to 13 that cover the spectrum from warm to cool metallics and work with most colors, patterns and textures. Embrace subtle shine with our polished surfaces in nickel, black chrome, brass and rose gold. Go for soft shimmer with satin looks in brass, rose gold and antique brass. Or get creative and mix and match. All finishes are available in all our Italian Collection components- rods, finials, rings, brackets and specialty applications.

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inspiration : queen of green

Eco-Offenders, Poor Indoor Air-Quality Contributors and Other Products to Avoid Curious what other products might cause headaches

(literally) for clients or have a negative impact on the environment? We asked GREENleaders trained by the

Sustainable Furnishings Council to tell us what products they sidestep.

I try to avoid products such as room fragrance sprays that claim to “clean” your sofas and window treatments. The marketing campaigns suggest that these products clean your space when, in reality, they utilize fragrances to mask dirt and contain BHT and acetaldehyde (these substances are thought to contribute to a number of health problems). It’s better to wash the window treatments, remove the sofa cushion covers and clean them, and steam clean the carpets.

Alternatives to Down

Most people have seen the video exposés of ducks and geese being plucked alive and otherwise tortured to obtain their feathers for down comforters and pillows. Anderson tries to avoid down whenever possible. “I always quote a synthetic option, even when people say they want down,” she says. There are now Dacron-based alternatives to down pillows that hold their shape quite well. The downside is that they wear out more quickly, so they have to be changed more frequently. For people who are looking to replace down comforters or pillows, it may be possible to clean and refill them instead. Some upholstery shops (including Anderson’s) can open down pieces, vacuum out the broken spines and other small particles, and add new feathers. That does require buying new down, but it takes fewer feathers than would be required to make a new item.

—Robin Wilson, Robin Wilson Home, New York, NY

As tempting as they are, we have been rethinking the use of performance fabrics with stainresistant coatings. While they are so appealing to our design clients that love to entertain, and families with pets and kids, we’ve become increasingly aware of how harmful fluorinated chemicals are for health and the environment. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has found evidence that fluoropolymers like Teflon and other stain-, water- and grease-resistant chemicals can break down into perfluorochemicals (fluorocarbons), which are harmful to people and the environment. Until a safer and healthier solution presents itself, we will use darker, more forgiving fabric colors and/or synthetics. Polyester naturally resists stains and isn’t treated with fluorinated chemicals. —Nicole Yee, NY Interiors, Oakland, CA

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Certification Programs

Green certification programs can provide designers with helpful guidance on products to use, but they don’t always tell the whole story. Some programs certify that products don’t release chemicals into the air, but they don’t measure the chemicals, heavy metals or other concerning ingredients in the products. Some may tout a material as recyclable, not noting that most municipal recycling programs don’t have the ability to collect and recycle it. “People think they can just rely on certifications and don’t have to ask any searching questions,” says Anderson. But depending on what the designer is trying to achieve—and what is important to the client—just looking for a green certification may not be enough. Instead, talk to clients about their environmental and health goals. Do they need a chemical-free home because of a sensitivity or other medical condition? How concerned are they about using products that are recyclable or made with recycledcontent material? Do they want to know about companies that take measures to reduce water consumption or source wood from certified sustainable sources? Armed with that information, designers can look for the program that best fits their goals. But Anderson strongly encourages designers to call the certification bodies and ask more questions. Knowledge is power when it comes to avoiding greenwashing and making the best possible recommendations to clients, and sometimes the only way to know what a certifying organization really considers is to ask. V

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inspiration : trends from up on high

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Trends fromUp on High BY SOPHIA BENNETT

Companies at the fall 2019 High Point Market showed off many styles that seem here to stay, as well as some new trends that are really taking off. Here are some of the in-vogue ideas we spotted.



inspiration : trends from up on high

Beachy Blues

Nature-inspired interiors continue to be quite popular. But rather than talking about green (which still seems to be THE color of the moment), we wanted to focus on blue; more specifically, the cool, casual blues that highlight the popularity of beach-inspired décor. These trims in aqua, teal, blue and navy from the Coastline color book in Fabricut’s new Kendall Wilkinson collection showcase this idea perfectly. So does this room, done up in blues and tans and distressed wood. (Note also the floral chandelier. Nature-inspired lighting was also everywhere at High Point.)

Hardware + Mixed Media + Bespoke

#HardwareCrush was a hashtag that showed up more than once during the market. People are loving statement hardware pieces like these finials from Louise Gaskill Company. These finials also display another hot trend: mixed media. Whether it’s combining metal and acrylic, wood and stone, or shiny and matte finishes, putting different types of materials together is super popular right now.

Velvet + Trims

These curtains from Eastern Accents demonstrate the interest in texturally pleasing velvet. Using trim to add a unique element to window treatments is a second trend that shows no sign of slowing down.

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Louise Gaskill specializes in lamps and chandeliers made with upcycled mid-century glass combined with hand-gilded vintage components. Though her window covering hardware comes in standard designs, she can create custom pieces with found items upon request. This represents yet another thing that’s interesting to consumers: bespoke pieces, including those made with upcycled, antique or found objects.

Prints + Updated Florals

There’s no need to restrict printed fabric to muted stripes or checks. These drapes, made with the newest design from SmithHönig, demonstrate that pattern is back in a big way. A complementary pattern found in this collection (which was inspired by the English countryside) is an “updated” floral. A picture of a rose was stretched and digitally distorted to make this simple pattern. High Point Market Style Spotter (and past IWCE speaker) Laura Thurman identified technologically altered florals as the way to update grandma’s flowered curtains and something designers should expect to see more of. V ISION |


inspiration : trends from up on high


Like pattern, color is absolutely everywhere right now. Little pops of color that show up in unexpected places can add interest and an element of surprise to a room, as this Abbey Secretary from EJ Victor shows. Or color can saturate a space for dramatic effect. This idea of “drench” was one of the biggest trends highlighted at the market and was fully on display in the Larry Laslo Design showroom at the Chaddock Furniture Workroom. V

We see your vision.

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Ona Drapery Hardware Company is your source for custom made drapery hardware. From contemporary to traditional, we offer an extensive selection of styles and finishes. We manufacture every rod set to order using only premium heavy gauge steel, wrought iron, crystal and more. Custom curving is available for all rod profiles. Be sure to look at our new Acrylic Rods, Art Glass finials and Polished Chrome finishes in addition to our popular French Rods and ONAVERSE™ Iron Cord Traverse Rods. We pride ourselves on quality workmanship, timely delivery and customer satisfaction. Select Ona Drapery Hardware and order with confidence.

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In Our Next Issue…

The March + April issue of Window Fashion VISION will explore what the home of the future will look like. How will motorized window treatments continue to evolve? What other technological innovations are now available to designers and homeowners? What will members of Generation Z expect in their residences? We will also take a look at the software platforms designers are using to streamline their business operations.

Have you heard the term “resimercial”? This mashup of the words “residential” and “commercial” refers to the idea that many commercial properties are incorporating elements of residential design to make hotels, restaurants and similar spaces feel more homey. We will cover what this new idea means and how designers can take advantage of it.

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The International Window Coverings Expo issue will also showcase the work of Sharon Falcher and Sherica Maynard, a talented mother-daughter design team from the Atlanta area (one of their rooms appears here), and present other articles intended to get your creative juices flowing before the event.



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